There has been an on going debate on the likelihood of achieving A.I. in the general philosophy forum. The major opponent of A.I. in this particular argument has been relying heavily on The Chinese Room Argument of John Searle. I wont get into the rest of the person's argument since it deals with the "soul" and "freewill" which are better left to the philosophy forums. At any rate, as I understand it the basis for the Chinese Room Argument is that a computer can only "understand" syntax which is not a meaningful understanding. Searle seems to contend that semantics (language meaning as opposed to syntax: language structure or patterns) are necessary to meaningful understanding. Here is where I have found what I believe to be the problem with his argument. To suppose that semantic understanding is a baseline for cognition would seem to me to propose a platonic essence to language only accessible to a cognitive mind. This would be a dualistic argument yet Searle apparently states that his argument does not come from a dualistic perspective. The way I see it is that semantic understanding is developed by the human mind through experience. Obviously, even by the logic of Searle's thought experiment, not even a human mind can understand a language unless it has learned the language. For the purpose of language(at the very least), and hence semantics, we would have to consider then the human mind a blank sheet at the outset. In this case the human mind must not have anything at it's disposal with which to decifer information but syntax correct? If I'm right in my assumptions then this is a major flaw in Searle's argument. If the development of semantic understanding is really based in syntax then the notion that computers are limited to syntactic understanding would be false so long as an A.I. can develope a semantic understanding through syntax. Is my criticism of this argument solid? Am I mistaken in believing that the root of semantic understanding is syntactic?